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American tech-giants are also benefiting the US solar industry!

Posted on Aug. 29, 2019 by Sanghamitra Sinha

Though costly to implement, solar energy gives a clean, renewable source of power. Renewable energy consequently, has an afresh platter of resources to offer you. Like low-cost maintenance, they never get worn-out, impacting your health, imposing numerous blessings on the environment. An estimation of nearly 17% of the net electricity of the US in 2018 was gained with the help of renewable energy. Now the beautiful amalgamation of nature and technology has evolved so lucratively, that we are being benefitted from that in innumerable ways! Like every growing nation is bound to coddle with its commercialization, renewable energy is thus facing a driving force in its commercialization through methods such as cloud computing. President Trump might have well-executed his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change; it could not hold back the data center industry to undergo industrial revolution with the hands of renewable energy. That is why companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple are all committed to sourcing renewable energy to power their cloud data centers. In terms of renewable energy utilization, the top ten companies are:

  1. Apple
  2. Amazon
  3. Target
  4. Walmart
  5. Switch
  6. Google
  7. Kaiser Permanente
  8. Prologis
  9. Solvay
  10. Fifth Third Bank

Understanding the prospects of energy markets and negotiating contracts to buy renewable energy are the key areas where the billionaire-magnets are obviously leading ahead of the SME’s. According to experts, solar and wind will become the cheapest sources of electricity for “ most of the world” after 2030. Not only the above-mentioned companies, a global campaign to promote 100% renewable energy use in the business world include Ikea, Facebook, Starbucks, and Johnson & Johnson & many other renowned names. First, it benefits their bottom lines. The price of wind and solar energy both experienced a headlong fall in the US since 2012 onwards, due to the rising demands among its natives. While the price of solar energy dropped at a rate of 80%, wind, on the other hand, accounted for 60% of the fall. Below are five global tech-giants that have been winning the hearts of the renewable energy sector for quite some time now!


Google has been the biggest corporate purchaser of renewable energy to date. This global tech-giant proudly engages 13 data centers and offices across 150 cities. Lately, this Larry-Sergey founded company has been planning onto buying wind and solar energy to meet the energy requirements of its range of data-centers worldwide. More than 20 renewable energy projects in the US and abroad are being funded by this company at the moment. The search engine had a motto of extracting 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2017. It became successful in achieving nearly 93% of its target by 2015. The company has sourced carbon-free energy for its data centers in the Netherlands, Finland, Taiwan, Iowa, and North Carolina. It has recently purchased a renewable energy capacity worth 3 gig watts which sufficiently can serve for its line of offices/data centers around the world.

  1. Google's Project Sunroof – In 2015 Google engineer Carl Elkin started this project. The maker’s purpose was "mapping the planet's solar potential, one roof at a time” enabling users to check the electricity production potential in your city and neighborhood and calculate the amount of sunlight on your rooftop. Now, one can enhance solar installation performance, using industry-standard models with the help of this newfound solar technology.
  2. The California based tech-giant has currently forged a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), to make a profit out of a sundry of solar farms. Totaling 413 megawatts of power from 1.6 million solar panels, the equivalent of 65,000 home rooftop solar systems. The company has set up new solar generation projects in Hollywood, Alabama, Yum Yum, and Tennessee. These built-in solar farms will be able to produce around 150 megawatts each and be the largest solar farms ever to be built for Google. It has also lined up 30 long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) and has resulted in nearly 5 billion dollars of global investment in renewable energy. The latest US Google data centers run on 1.6 million solar panels! The tech giant was able to hit this target of matching 100 percent of its energy use after closing new deals to buy wind and solar power generation in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Iowa. “ Last year, we shared our long-term objective to source carbon-free electricity around the clock for each of our data centers,” said Amanda Corio, Senior Lead, and Energy & Infrastructure for Google. “ These new solar projects will bring us substantially closer to that goal in the Southeastern U.S.”
  3. Google had invested 168 million dollars in the world's largest solar power plant and has now expanded from search engine power to solar power. The company had invested 168 million in a Mojave Desert solar facility that is known as one of the world’s largest solar power plant, generating 392 MW of solar energy. The Ivanpah (SEGS) site is located on 3,600 acres of land in the Mojave Desert in southeastern California.


  1. Apple has till 2018 topped the list of companies with the highest number of installed solar energy capacity.
  2. U.S. Tech giant Apple is now the leading procurer of corporate solar in the United States with nearly 400 megawatts (MW) of total installed capacity.
  3. Apple aims to bring 4 gig watts of renewable energy into its supply chain by 2020; the company has done addition to that project of 1 gig watt within that timeframe. That is why their target is likely to exceed. This is just 1 year after the company officially announced that all of its global facilities are 100% renewable energy powered.
  4. Apple hosts 25 operational renewable energy projects worth 626 megawatts, with 286 megawatts of solar PV generation that came online in 2017; - this is the maximum magnitude performed by any company in 1 year.
  5. Apple did 393.3 megawatts of solar installation, exceeding the magnitudes of Amazon and Target at 329.8 megawatts and 242.4 megawatts respectively. Google was ranked sixth with 142.9 megawatts. The rankings have been done with respect to both on-site and off-site solar installations in the United States, according to SEIA reports.
  6. In 2015, Apple invested 848 million dollars in a solar farm to power its California operations, including its new Cupertino campus. The deal made Apple the largest corporate user of solar power. This 2015 solar project is of 130MW, through a 25-year purchasing agreement from the California Flats Solar Project.
  7. The California-Cupertino based headquarter of Apple is the largest LEED Platinum-certified office building in North America. Powered by 100% renewable energy, this international data center includes a 17-megawatt onsite rooftop solar installation and four megawatts of biogas fuel cells. The system is controlled by a microgrid with battery storage.
  8. Apple signed an agreement with SunPower to add 315 MW of electricity via two solar projects in Virginia.
  9. In Singapore, the company has powered its manufacturing facilities with 32MW of solar panels. Apple has made the addition of 170MW of solar power in China to provide for the power used to manufacture iPhones and other various electronic gadgets.
  10. Apple announced a joint venture with Nevada Energy (NV Energy) to build out 200MW of photovoltaic solar capacity to power its data center in Reno, Nevada.


  1. In 2018 Facebook announced power purchase agreements for 1,850 megawatts of renewable energy, as part of its larger commitment to sustainable operations.
  2. Facebook paid a lion’s share in a massive solar farm in Texas. Renewable energy Company Longroad Energy has built the Prospero Solar project in Andrews County, Texas. Facebook and Shell will also be awarded renewable energy tax credits. Till 2018, 75 percent of Facebook's business ran on renewable energy. The social network and advertising company is the sole tax equity investor in the 4,600-acre project but will share the renewable energy produced by the farm with Shell Energy North America, which has signed a 12-year pact.
  3. Facebook has a data center campus located in Forth Worth and has signed a PPA for 112MW of solar power in Utah to supply the company’s Eagle Mountain facility with clean power.
  4. Facebook and Dominion sign solar deal for 350MW of clean power. The deal will provide Facebook with six new solar farms to power its data centers and gives Dominion a chance to boost its renewable energy portfolio. The agreement, which will grant the social network up to 350MW of solar energy in the area, was announced by Mark Zuckerberg in a recent Facebook post. The energy company is only developing one of the six projects, the others have been or will be bought from Bayware Solar Projects, EDF renewables and Strata Solar. The new projects are
  • 20MW Montross Solar in Westmoreland County, VA
  • 20MW Gloucester Solar in Gloucester, VA
  • 80MW Grasshopper Solar in Mecklenburg, NC
  • 75MW Chestnut Solar in Halifax County, NC
  • 75MW Pecan Solar in Northampton County, NC
  • 80MW Gutenberg Solar in Northampton County, NC

Dominion’s solar facilities produce around 884MW of clean power, so these new solar farms will account for nearly a third of the company’s solar output. The energy company said that it hopes that these projects will help reach its goal.


  1. This US-based multinational tech giant has got several ambitious goals to increase their usage of clean energy over the next decade. Their three projects are all availing nearly 1.4 gig watts of energy. This company has committed to driving change beyond its operations, with the help of innovative models and technologies.
  2. Recently Microsoft and Invenergy, together announced their forthcoming project in North Carolina, a 74-megawatt solar farm. This new project is likely to deliver, not only growth to the US solar industry but also clean and green energy to the company.
  3. The Wilkinson Solar Energy Center is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2019 and is estimated to create more than 500 jobs during construction and will provide enough power to cover the energy load for each of their new data center campuses once the solar project is operational. Microsoft did a 15-year power purchase agreement and is likely to become the sole off-taker of the energy generated at the Wilkinson Solar Energy Center. This is regarded as Microsoft’s fourth power purchase agreement in the PJM Interconnection and will bring Microsoft’s total renewable energy portfolio to more than 1.3 gig watts that are a 150 MW powered plant powered by First Solar.
  4. Microsoft is actively investing hundreds of millions of dollars to develop these world-class data center campuses in Arizona. Microsoft has invested in rooftop solar power in Singapore to power its data centers as well.
  5. The company has also announced a deal with Singaporean solar firm Sunseap to purchase all the power generated by a planned rooftop solar project, which will be the largest of its kind in the city-state.
  6. Microsoft has been powered by 100% renewable electricity since 2014. In 2015, the tech giant joined RE100, a global corporate initiative bringing ambitious companies to sourcing entirely renewable power. In 2016, Microsoft set further ambitious targets to source clean electricity for its data centers directly from local sources of energy; 50% by the end of 2018 and 60% by early 2020.
  7. The Pleinmont project, with phases I and II does consist of more than 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 acres of land, producing approximately 715,00 MWh power per year. They are in assistance of a larger solar project worth 500 MW, Virginia’s biggest solar development.


  1. The company aims for 33% renewable energy usage for leased and owned facilities, including their data centers.
  2. The years 2015 and 2017 both witnessed Oracle installing tones of solar panels at its office in Burlington, Massachusetts and Austin Data Centers, respectively.
  3. It completed the Utah Compute Facility of new 400 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays.
  4. Oracle also did the installation of 125 rooftop-mounted solar PV modules at its Mumbai, India campus in February 2018.
  5. In March 2018, Oracle led forward a 435 solar PV module construction in its Pune office.
  6. Again in April 2018, Oracle did the construction of a 335kW solar PV installation at its Pleasanton, California, campus.

We can conclude that this company has been very well taking initiatives in maintaining renewable energy standards globally and reducing carbon footprints of its circumference. In Europe, they are having the Oracle’s 100% renewable Oracle public cloud. This company is a signatory to the Corporate Colocation and Cloud Buyers’ Principles and the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance. It does not only evaluate potential onsite renewable energy projects, but also renewable energy provided through local utility grids.

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